Ontario Takes Additional Steps to Protect Seniors in Retirement Homes during COVID-19
Province Makes Regulatory Amendments in Response to Pandemic
TORONTO — Today, the Ontario government made amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010 regulation, enabling the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to better support seniors living in retirement homes during the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulation change increases the emergency payment the RHRA can pay to eligible retirement home residents from $2,000 to $3,500. In the event of an emergency, such as an outbreak, this funding can be used to support residents to cover costs for transportation, alternative accommodation or temporary care. The regulation change also requires retirement homes to report infectious disease outbreaks to the RHRA during COVID-19 and beyond.
“These regulatory amendments build on the decisive action our government has taken in recent days to make sure our seniors receive the support and the protection that they deserve,” said Premier Doug Ford. “We are making sure seniors have the financial resources they need in the event of an emergency, and are making it easier for the retirement home regulator to work with local public health authorities.”
In addition, the government has:
- Issued an emergency order eliminating barriers to eligible frontline workers receiving pandemic pay. It will allow employers with unionized workforces to provide pandemic pay to eligible employees without the need to negotiate separate terms or conditions with their bargaining agents.
- Extended an emergency order to provide electricity bill relief for industrial and commercial consumers during COVID-19. The order was first introduced on May 1, 2020 to defer a portion of the Global Adjustment charges from April and May 2020. Through the extended emergency order and a related regulatory amendment, this support is now being extended through to the end of June 2020.
- Amended an emergency order to allow drive-in movie theatres that were in existence before May 29, 2020 to reopen with restrictions in order to help support communities and local businesses recover from the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. The government is also allowing batting cages to open so that people can start to enjoy outdoor seasonal activities at safe physical distances. These changes will be effective on May 31, 2020.
- The Government of Ontario declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This declaration of emergency was most recently extended on May 12, 2020 and is currently in effect until June 2, 2020.
- The Ontario government extended all emergency orders in force under s.7.0.2 (4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until June 9, 2020.
- Emergency orders related to drive-in cinemas and drive-in religious services now allow the use of washrooms provided health and safety requirements are followed.